Life of a Male Midwife – Inspiring Stories from Male Midwives: Part 2

What we understood from part one of the Male Midwives blog? First of all, men are changing the rules and we can see a positive progression in the profession compared to the past. Secondly, male midwives are so compassionate and caring! Their warmhearted stories showed us how dedicated those men are and how much they love their midwifery jobs.

We know that it is still a long way to go. But let’s focus on the positive aspect – we are already on the road towards a better future. Step by step our society gets rid of toxic old-fashioned thinking, stereotypes and gender bias attitudes. There have been many movements for gender equality in the past decades. Those movements have not only changed the workplace politics but also opened the eyes of the people worldwide. It’s wonderful that more and more young people are fighting against the old ‘norms’. This brings light at the end of the tunnel.

Male midwives are great and we are here to support them. Their compassionate stories bring back our faith in humanity and we want to reach more and more people. Here are three male representatives of the profession who speak openly and share some personal stories close to their hearts. Glad to see big-hearted people like you, dear midwives!

 

Declan Brown

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How did you decide to become a midwife? What was your main motivation?
Hello, I\’m Declan, a Post RN student midwife who is a month away from qualification. My journey in becoming a midwife started right after watching the film \’what to expect when you\’re expecting\’. I remember going straight home from the cinema in 2012 and told my mum that I wanted to be a midwife. Something just clicked whilst watching the film and the appeal of midwifery just took over. I put the idea of pursuing marketing to one side and focused solely on midwifery. Skip forward 2 years and I started my nurse training. I knew it would be demanding in every way possible, but I had that goal of being a midwife and this is what motivated me. Once qualified, I worked as a nurse for 2 years and I knew it was time to transfer over to midwifery whilst the top up courses were still available. Skip another 18 months and I\’m nearly there, the feeling of being at the end of such a long journey is overwhelmingly amazing.

What is the most fulfilling part of your job?

I\’d have to say the most fulfilling part of my role is knowing I am able to make a difference to a couples life through both the highs and the lows, during the most important time in their lives. It\’s also the feeling of being able to support and advocate for those in such a vulnerable position, enabling them to be heard and their preferences be recognised. As we all know it\’s not a \’one size, fits all\’ service we provide. It\’s also nice to see more and more women becoming open to males being involved within their care, something I feel passionately about and centered my dissertation around. Males have come a long in midwifery since the early 1980s but we still have a way to go.

Share an inspiring for you story from your professional life.

My 1st and my 40th births will forever stick with me. I can remember all details because they were so monumental in my development as a student midwife. At my first birth, I was so taken aback by how utterly amazing childbirth was, that I could not imagine I would be able to deliver a newborn without the guidance of a mentor but here I am after bringing 40 babies into this world. The rapport you build with the mother and partners and being able to share such a special moment with them is something that will, quite frankly, never grow old.

Christos Vrakas

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I decided that I wanted to be male nurse from the age of 15. Even though I had never given any thoughts on becoming a male midwife, while in the 3rd year of my nursing bachelor degree we had a lesson on midwifery. I instantly fell in love with the idea of being so up and close with a birth so at that specific point I decided that I wanted to be involved with this. 

Later that week we went to the hospital for our weekly practical placement and there I was inside a nursery full of newborn babies. It instantly felt like home, like it was always meant for me to be there. I started helping moms give their infants their first bath and it felt so beautiful. 

I specifically remember turning to my sister who was also in nursing school with me and telling her these exact words, “Natasa, this is what i want to do in my life, this is where i want to be. I want to become a male midwife, I want to be here”. 

She turned around and looked at me with her eyes watering “ I’ve never seen you talking about something like that, I hope you make it but knowing how determined you are I have no doubts that you can make it”.

At that point in Cyprus, the only options for someone to become a midwife was either to travel to the nearby country of Greece where you could attend a 4 year bachelor degree in midwifery or, having a 2 year Masters degree on the subject.

 

I decided to complete my bachelor as a nurse and later on the same year I immediately enrolled on the Master Degree In Midwifery.

Fast forward 2 years later i completed my Masters after many sleepless nights working 2 full time jobs and waiting for mommies to give birth to their babies. The feeling of bringing new life into this world made all the tiredness i felt go away in seconds.

I had never been more proud in my life for achieving something and it was with great sadness that when i started looking for a job as a male midwife i realised that most Private sector clinics in Cyprus would not hire me as a midwife just because i was a man. 

 

After many struggles I managed to find a job in a different city from the one that I was at that time and I remained there for 3 years until I was appointed in Ammochostos General Hospital which is a public hospital and to which I remain to this day.

Unfortunately due to the Covid Pandemic, our hospital has been appointed as a Covid 19 treatment centre and all of our midwives have been working in the Covid 19 wards for the past year. I have really missed our maternity ward but hopefully we can go back to normal in a few months.

After working as a nurse for a total of 7 years and as a midwife for the last 5, I have also acquired a position in teaching at the European University of Cyprus where I teach midwifery both on undergraduate nursing students as well as on postgraduate midwifery students. I have also applied for a PhD on midwifery and I\’m waiting for an answer from the specific institution.

 

A very common question i get from people is if women don’t feel as comfortable with me as their midwife as they would with a woman and my answer is always the same. A woman that is in labour just wants help, attention and respect. When you give this three things then gender doesn’t really matter. When approaching a woman with respect at one of the most important moments of her life, then her acceptance towards you is almost guaranteed.

There are differences in the way I handle situations but that doesn’t mean that it\’s a bad thing.

For example, I cannot approach a woman and just check her breasts or her postpartum bleeding without her consent which is something that most midwives forget to do. As women they can approach and touch a woman’s body without really talking first.

As a man on the other hand, before I do anything I like to speak with women, explaining to them about everything I am going to do and that makes most women feel respected. It also makes them realise that i am there to help them, providing them with useful information regarding them as well as their newborn babies.

I think the most fulfilling part of my job is gaining the couples trust and rewarding them with a beautiful healthy newborn baby. I love being the reason that families are created, I love seeing full grown men in tears when they hold their babies for the first time, I love supporting and engaging couples and I love being the one that brings a new life into this world. 

Thank you for giving me a chance to share a small part of my story and I hope that more men decide to be midwives.

 

Dr Donovan Jones

How did you decide to become a midwife? What was your main motivation?

One of the things that really sparked my interest in midwifery was my exposure in third year when I was a nursing student.  What happened at the time was we had placement which was a specific time where you got to go and experience different parts of nursing.  And while all my friends were going off to coronary care and Intensive Care Units and emergency department, I was fortunate or unfortunate (as it felt at the time) to actually get a placement on a postnatal ward (not knowing anything about what postnatal care is), certainly knowing nothing about midwifery. Um…I tried to swap with some of my female colleagues but unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to swap.  So I went along with an open mind and was exposed to the world of postnatal care and just fell in love with it.  Just thought it was awesome! 

What is the most fulfilling part of your job?

Reflecting on my own midwifery practice being a male midwife I often get some odd looks when entering the birth environment. More often than not the women’s birthing support people joke that I should be called a mid-man or mid-husband. However, I find once the explanation of the word midwife to the woman and her support people, “with woman” brings an understanding and acceptance to my presence in the woman’s birthing environment. I remember one of my midwifery mentors telling me repeatedly early in my career “you will have to work hard as being a male means every little mistake will be noticed”.  Clearly the journey of a midwife is amazing and being a male has its challenges, but ultimately midwifery has led me to an incredible life, allowing me to share the precious time in a woman’s life for which I am humbled and honoured. 

Share an inspiring for you story from your professional life.

Don’t, really have one that I can share that would not break confidentiality, but I can tell you that I have been blessed as moving into educating our next future generation of midwives is one of the most amazing experiences. Being a part of a beautiful discipline like midwifery is to be a part of something that is bigger than you and I.

Part two of the male midwives blog was not initially planned. Still, we’ve had so good responses that we couldn\’t take away from the world! Their heartening words and moving stories made us smile and restore faith in humanity. We are sure that they will brighten up your day too!

From motivation to start to inspiration to continue – the journey of a midwife is a constant process of love and compassion. Mylocum team would like to express our gratitude to all midwives who took part! Thank you for being open and genuine, caring and kind, dedicated and hardworking! We appreciate you taking from your valuable time to share your midwife journeys! Keep on being an inspiration!

What is your story? Share in comments or contact us directly – We would love to hear it!

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Mylocum has many opportunities in midwifery and we would like to encourage both males and females to apply for their desired job. Job opportunities check here: https://www.mylocum.com/jobs-3/

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